The Iranian Deputy Minister of Petroleum for Trade and International Affairs, Amir-Hossein Zamaninia, said that his country will push for increased natural gas exports to Eastern Asia, including Japan, as prices are more attractive than Europe, Iran Daily reported.

Zamaninia said that Iran hopes to form a long-term relationship with Japan for the supply of Iranian LNG to the Asian country.  He said “Japan has a great potential of becoming a major partner for Iran in developing its gas industry,” according to Press TV.

Tehran aims to leverage the country’s natural gas resources in the South Pars field in the Persian Gulf to entice Asian countries to import their gas needs from Iran. Yet, discussion between the two countries on gas export capabilities are still tentative.

A middle-east adviser at the Japan External Trade Organization, Yoichi Yamamoto, said petrochemical products, rather than natural gas, might be more attractive to Tokyo. In a statement to The Japan Times , he added , “to transport gas across the sea, it is necessary to convert gas into liquefied natural gas and use special tankers, resulting in relatively large investment. Considering the future stability of Iran, there remain uncertain factors regarding how far Japanese companies can invest.”